[Coral-List] UNESCO & Climate Change

John McManus jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
Wed Jul 6 09:09:12 EDT 2005

I believe this petition is a good thing, and urge list members to support it via the information on the website: http://www.elaw.org/campaigns/info.asp?id=2929

The World Heritage system actually includes a number of reef systems around the world, just as it does many parks on land that are threatened with climate change. In this case, however, representatives in the three countries (Belize, Peru and Nepal) have officially filed petitions with those countries, giving the petitions a status that will put them into the agenda of the World Heritage Convention meeting next week. A strong showing of support for the petitions will likely lead to resolutions for action, that will at least lead to good publicity about the problems and perhaps even slightly strengthen attempts to pass emissions standards in some countries. Every little piece of support is needed. 

Fortunately, I think those involved in the State of the Reefs Reports, Reef Check, Reefs at Risk, ReefBase, WWF, TNC, CI, Cousteau Society, Ocean Futures, and others have been having an effect. Nearly every taxi driver I encounter says something like "You work on reefs? They are in trouble, aren't they!" The people who painted my house even gave us a discount for working on reefs. So, I doubt that highlighting the problems on the Belize reefs will lead most people to believe that those are the only reefs in trouble. Still, it is incumbent of anyone interviewed about the petitions to be certain to point out that the problem is worldwide, and that even the future of the relatively well-protected Great Barrier Reef (another World Heritage Site) could be in doubt.


 *** Please note new phone numbers (361 now 421) ***
John W. McManus, PhD.
Professor, Marine Biology and Fisheries
Director, National Center for Caribbean Coral Reef Research (NCORE)
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL, 33149
305-421-4814, 305-421-4820,       Fax: 305-421-4910
jmcmanus at rsmas.miami.edu
"If I cannot build it, I do not understand it." -- Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Laureate 

-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Hershowitz, Ari
Sent: Tuesday, July 05, 2005 8:09 PM
To: martin.pecheux at free.fr; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; wh-info at unesco.org; Wild Christian
Cc: belpobz at starband.net
Subject: RE: [Coral-List] UNESCO & Climate Change 

[coral-list moderator-- No need to post my response unless you feel it is appropriate to include with Dr. Martin's email below]

Dear Dr. Martin,

Your point is well-taken. Indeed, many reefs worldwide are in danger from climate change.  However, only a few of these are listed as World Heritage sites and therefore eligible for the "In Danger" designation.  This designation has a specific technical definition within the UNESCO World Heritage system, namely that:

i. the property under consideration is on the World Heritage List;

ii. the property is threatened by serious and specific danger;

iii. major operations are necessary for the conservation of the property;

iv. assistance under the Convention has been requested for the property;

The World Heritage-listed reefs clearly meet criteria i-iii --as you point out, the operations necessary to save these sites are major, and Belizeans have requested assistance under the Convention (satisfying iv).  The Committee then has to determine what assistance the Convention could provide--including simply drawing public attention to the fact that our international efforts to protect many World Heritage sites from local threats are being undermined by climate change.

Ari Hershowitz
Director, BioGems Project, Latin America
Natural Resources Defense Council

-----Original Message-----
From:	Martin Pêcheux [mailto:martin.pecheux at free.fr]
Sent:	Tue 7/5/2005 6:45 PM
To:	Hershowitz, Ari; coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov; wh-info at unesco.org; Wild Christian
Subject:	Re: [Coral-List] FW: UNESCO & Climate Change ????
Dear Ari Hershowitz, Hi feeling fellows,

Declare he Belize Barrier Reef "In Danger" due to climate change ???? But all reefs are in danger due to climate change !!!
I would even say: they were. Half too late  for today (already 48% corals gone, Wilkinson and 239 others, 2004, tab. p. 9; at least 3/4 due to global change I am sure), and
given it is seemingly exponential (roughly 2-3% in 1980, 10% in 1992, 48% today) and inertia of economics (but consciousness chain reaction ? dixit Einstein)

To declare in danger one reef in particular can only lead people to think that the others are safe. Your approach is dangerous.
And what can you do in particular agaisnt climate change in Belize ? Reduce greenhouse gas (we all agree it urges), so its worth for all reefs....

Best regards,

-- Dr. Martin Pêcheux
Institut des Foraminifères Symbiotiques
16, rue de la Fontaine de l'Espérance, 92160 Antony, France
martin.pecheux at free.fr
+33(0) 8711 804 32
Publications at  www.reefbase.org

To be read absolutely by any scientific, and by anyone who wants to know
what is Science, the famous funny George Perec:Tomatotropic
(also one level up, http://pauillac.inria.fr/~xleroy/stuff)

Tuesday 5 July 2005: International Fête of Aphelion, 152.1 millions km, greatest distance between Earth and Sun
As Earth is like a spinning top, we will fêté it at the Autumn Solstice in about 5000 years. This is the precession cycle which has done part of the glacial cycles, particularly before 800
kyr, and a little again since 400 kyr. Since 800 kyr, the 100 kyr excentricity cycle dominates, why ?? El Niño ??

"Hershowitz, Ari" a *crit :

> Dear Coral list,
> Please consider the request below to help environmental groups in Belize who are asking the World Heritage Committee to declare the Belize Barrier Reef "In Danger" due to climate change.
> Thanks,
> Ari Hershowitz
> Director, BioGems Project, Latin America
> Natural Resources Defense Council
> Subject: UNESCO & Climate Change:  Send e-mail now!
> E-Bulletin
> Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, U.S.
> =~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
> July 1, 2005
> Dear Friends,
> E-LAW partners in Belize, Nepal, and Peru need your help to urge the
> UNESCO World Heritage Committee to protect glaciers in the Himalayas and
> Andes, and coral reefs off Belize from the dangers of climate change.
> Pioneering lawyers submitted groundbreaking legal petitions to UNESCO in
> November 2004 that link environmental damage to these World Heritage
> Sites to climate change.  They are asking the World Heritage Committee
> to declare the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, Huascarán National
> Park in Peru, and Mount Everest and the Sagarmatha National Park in
> Nepal as World Heritage Sites “In Danger,� thereby establishing a
> duty among nations that are Parties to the Convention to protect these
> sites.
>   From July 10th - July 17th, the World Heritage Committee meets in
> Durban, South Africa.  We are helping E-LAW partners mobilize support
> for their petitions and asking you to urge the Committee to save these
> critical ecosystems for future generations.
> To learn more and submit an e-mail letter, please visit:
> http://www.elaw.org/campaigns/info.asp?id=2929
> Please write before July 8th.  Let the World Heritage Committee hear
> from people all over the world who are concerned about the impacts of
> climate change on irreplaceable natural treasures.
> Thank you.
> Sincerely,
> Jennifer Gleason
> Staff Attorney
> E-LAW U.S.
> P.S.  E-mail messages received during the meeting (July 10 - 17) will
> also be valuable.  Thank you!
> _______________________________________________
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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